Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-7)

December 30th, 2013 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Eagles, General, Sports.

Eagles-vs-Cowboys-1229

So alas Dallas we meet again, this time with playoff implications and a division title/playoff spot on the line. Plain and simple: the winner tonight wins the NFC East division title and will be, and can only be, the # 3 seed in the NFC come playoff time. If the Eagles win they can face a number of teams, depending on what occurs today in games around the league. Come January they would play the second (and last) NFC Wild Card team, aka the # 6 seed, with home field advantage. Depending on how the scenarios play out today, they would either play the 49ers, the Saints or the Cardinals.

Getting in is half the effort. All Philadelphia has to do tonight is focus on Dallas and Dallas only, considering they wouldn’t have to worry about winning and trusting another team to lose/tie in order to make it in.

Dallas is coming off of a close 24-23 win at division rival Washington last Sunday, in which starting quarterback Tony Romo threw a late TD with 1:08 remaining in the game to seal the deal for Dallas. In the game, Romo threw two touchdown passes, on 17 completions (out of 27), to an interception, for a quarterback rating of 98.7. He threw for 226 passing yards in the game, an average of 8.4 yards/passing attempt, and completed 63% of his passes on the day. Dallas scored 10 late 4th Quarter points in the game, in the span of five minutes, to give themselves a shot at a playoff berth come tonight.

As for Philadelphia, they went the easier route by handily defeating Chicago 54-11 in a route. In that game, quarterback Nick Foles completed 84% of his passes, throwing for 230 passing yards with two touchdown passes to 0 interceptions, with an overall QB rating of 131.7. Foles, with his ply this year,  is among the best of all time as far as single-season statistics are concerned. He’s ranked third all-time among quarterbacks for the best single-season quarterback rating, with 118.7.

Kyle Orton has 69 career starts, so he has experience, but I firmly believe his rustiness will be a factor. Then again, if Dallas sticks to their running game early, and more importantly, are successful with the latter they can win.

Philadelphia defensively vs. the run this season is ranked 19th with 115.5 yards/game. They’ve gotten much better, and improved mightily, in that department since the beginning of the season. They’ve kept five of their past six opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing, including, up to this game, four straight games where they haven’t allowed more than 90/game. They’ve given up an average of just 79 rushing yards the past four games, a very impressive mark, and also a span of time where they’ve gone 3-1. Compare that to their defensive output the first four games of the year, in which they went a combined 1-4, and it’s a major, almost astonishing difference. In those first four respective games of the year, Philadelphia’s defense gave up an average of 121.75 rushing yards per game, a difference (roughly) of 42 yards between the two time spans.

Will rookie Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly adjust from the loss at underdog Minnesota a couple weeks ago, and from these two teams’ first match-up this season on October 20th, or game plan like he did vs. Chicago last week in which the team put up a season-high 54 points vs. a susceptible Chicago rush defense. Last week the Eagles ran for 289 yards on 36 carries, a yards/attempt average of 8.02. Getting LeSean McCoy early and often as possible is a must, and critical, for Philadelphia, to take Dallas out of the game early.

The loss of Romo, as well as linebacker Sean Lee, is huge for Dallas’ chances of making the playoffs, unless they force the big turnovers (or any for that matter) and

 

Injury Report


Philadelphia

OUT

S Colt Anderson (knee)
C Julian Vandervelde (back)

Questionable

S Earl Wolff (knee)

Probable

CB Brandon Boykin (hip)
OLB Trent Cole (hand)
Kurt Coleman (hamstring)
OT Lane Johnson (back)
LB Mychal Kendricks (knee)
OG Evan Mathis (illness)

 

Dallas

OUT

QB Tony Romo (back) – Placed on Injured Reserve
LB Sean Lee (neck)

Questionable

DE DeMarcus Ware (back)

Probable

WR Dez Bryant (back)
CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring)
DB Jakar Hamilton (hip)
WR Dwayne Harris (hamstring)
DT Jason Hatcher (neck)
LB DeVonte Holloman (hip)
DE George Selvie (back)
DE Jarius Wynn  (chest)

 

Keys to the Game

-For Philadelphia

-Don’t beat yourself. Don’t turn over the ball at inopportune times
-Control the time of possession battle
-Defensively: Make Dallas work for the points
-Defensively: Take advantage of facing the backup quarterback, especially a rusty one at that
-Balance the attack. Dallas, a poor passing defense, is equally poor against the rush. The pressure is on them

Dallas

-Game plan around DeMarco Murray
-Force turnovers
-Don’t let the loss of Romo affect your game plan

Player of the Game Prediction

LeSean McCoy

Dallas is ranked 27th against the rush (126.7 yards/game), while McCoy leads the NFL this season with 1476 rushing yards

 

Game Prediction
Philadelphia wins 37-17

 

 

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